A London judge has ruled that one businessman has a right to be forgotten and another does not, the Guardian reports. Justice Mark Warby’s Friday ruling compels Google to delete search findings about the criminal conviction of a claimant known publicly as NT2, while NT1’s conviction will remain online. NT1…
One screen, one user.
But what happens when any screen can serve hundreds of users?
In Steven Spielberg’s 2002 sci-fi movie, Minority Report, billboards could display customized ads that addressed each passerby by name (or at least by the name of the person who provided one’s eyeballs). Every public holographic billboard became private, targeted and personalized for a couple of seconds as each person walked by.
In reality, the public will likely reject the Minority Report model of their personal data being used to trigger public ad personalization.
As this week’s congressional hearing featuring Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg demonstrated, the public and politicians are reaching their limits with privacy violations by companies that use personal information to display targeted advertising.
But truly personal data isn’t required for this kind of advertising to work.
As far back as year and a half ago, a billboard in Moscow changed the ad on its display based on the brand of car passing by.
The billboard was created by Synaps Labs, which used high-speed cameras placed 180 meters in front of the billboard to take pictures of cars. Machine-learning software determined each car’s make and model. The purpose was to show ads for Jaguar’s expensive new SUV to drivers who already owned expensive cars.
The company has since developed its technology further and installed billboards all over Russia and the United States.
Instead of harvesting and applying actual personal data, Synaps’ billboard system used information publicly visible — car makes and models.
That process — to instantly extract actionable data from photographs — is something A.I. is very good at.
A.I. can detect all kinds of things, especially about pedestrians. Existing A.I. can detect whether a person in a photo is young or old, male or female and glean many other facts useful for ad targeting.
So, yes, we’ll get Minority Report-style advertising that swaps out billboards as people drive or walk by. But the targeting will be done on the fly by A.I., not by personal information in a database.
The people who view these ads won’t necessarily know that the billboards are personalized for them. In other words, real-world ads are going to start working a lot like online ads do today.
Synaps Labs’ technology can show one billboard ad at a time, so everyone driving by when a high-end car triggers the Jaguar ad will see it. Personalization will become even more powerful when a single billboard can show hundreds of ads at the same time to different people (and no one else can see what’s being displayed for you).
Welcome to the future world of multi-view displays.
Think business computing, not advertising
When you walk through an airport today, dozens or even hundreds of signs direct you to baggage claim, taxis, bathrooms, customs and more. Big displays show you all the arriving and departing flights.
At any given time, however, you’re concerned only with a tiny amount of this information.
In the future, there will be very few signs, and each will display only the information you might care about. Instead of showing all the flights, a screen will show only your flight. After getting off your flight, the signs will only direct to baggage claim and the bathroom.
Inside corporate office buildings, all the screens you will see, from the lobby to the boardroom and in every office along the way, will show you your own personal notifications, information and data. Any computer in the office will be your own personal computer, and you’ll be logged in using biometrics.
And all this will occur no matter how many people are looking at any given screen at once.
The technology for this is already in development. Research at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill describes a system that provides “correct eye gaze for multiple users.”
And a startup called Misapplied Sciences has developed technology, which it calls “parallel reality,” that enables hundreds of people to look at a single screen and see completely different, customized views. I could look at a screen and see information in English, while the person standing next to me sees the same information in Mandarin and a third person sees French. Or, for that matter, I could see my texts and the others could see theirs.
Misapplied Sciences, which was founded by former Microsoft employees and Walt Disney Imagineers, has demonstrated screens that send different colors of light — they’re called “multi-view pixels” — in a huge number, possibly even millions, of directions.
The company says that by using smartphone-like sensors, it can not only show each passerby a unique, individualized screen, but the displayed information or ad could “follow” people as they walk around, jumping from screen to screen. All this would be private in the sense that nobody else could see it, even in a crowded public space.
While multi-view screen technology is emerging, the other technologies required to make this vision a reality are well-established. First, there’s all-cloud computing, as in the Chromebook model. Cloud computing is ubiquitous today, and the all-cloud computing model is solid.
Second are biometric technologies such as face recognition. They are getting faster and more accurate. Biometrics are already the default approach for authentication on the top model of the world’s top smartphone maker (that would be Apple’s iPhone X). Nearly all future smartphones will use biometric ID for authentication, which will become faster and more accurate with each passing month.
The only missing technology ingredient in the equation is the display technology, and that’s definitely coming.
The combination of these three trends will result in a world in which every screen you encounter anywhere, including in public spaces, is personalized and individualized. And unlike with augmented reality, you won’t have to wear special glasses.
Big Brother is not only watching, he’s got pretty sharp eyesight. A fugitive in China found this out the hard way when he got arrested at a pop concert attended by about 60,000 people—thanks to facial recognition technology. The man identified only as Mr. Ao traveled to the…
Video: What would it take for Apple to turn the Mac mini into a Mac mini Pro?
An internal memo warning Apple employees that leaking information could result in legal action and criminal charges has, rather predictably, been leaked.
The memo, which was seen by Bloomberg, claims that Apple “caught 29 leakers” last year alone, and that of those, 12 were arrested.
The memo goes on to say that “leaked information about a new product can negatively impact sales of the current model,” and that it can “give rival companies more time to begin on a competitive response; and lead to fewer sales of that new product when it arrives.”
“We want the chance to tell our customers why the product is great, and not have that done poorly by someone else,” Greg Joswiak, an Apple product marketing executive, is quoted as saying in the memo.
The memo also details what happens to leakers who are caught.
“Leakers do not simply lose their jobs at Apple. In some cases, they face jail time and massive fines for network intrusion and theft of trade secrets both classified as federal crimes.”
It seems that the threat of even severe penalties wasn’t enough to keep news of the memo from leaking.
The memo goes as far as to name an outlet that had been receiving information about future products.
“Global Security’s digital forensics also helped catch several employees who were feeding confidential details about new products including iPhone X, iPad Pro and AirPods to a blogger at 9to5Mac.”
The full text of the memo can be read over at Bloomberg.
Apple has a workforce of 135,000, and one of the biggest and most convoluted supply chains in the business, so clamping down on leaks is going to be hard. And if the company’s efforts in 2017 are anything to go by, it’s a battle that the Cupertino giant seems to be losing.
A Windows Ink engineer has confirmed that there’s a bug in the third Win10 1709 March Cumulative Update, KB 4089848, that breaks common pen movements in Photoshop, Lightroom and CS Paint. Looks as if the same problem bedevils this month’s 1709 Cumulative Update, KB 4093112, as well. Microsoft, it seems, decided to break pen behavior in Win10 1709 without any notification or explanation.
Early this month, DavideV, on the Microsoft Answers forum, posted a rather strange observation:
I’m on a Surface Pro 4 and Photoshop CC used to work just fine for me but recently I’m experiencing the following problem: often in Brush mode the pen moves the canvas around instead of drawing. This is almost always the case when starting a vertical stroke, less so for horizontal ones.
- both with and without Photoshop gestures enabled
- with both the new and old Surface pen
- with and without hardware acceleration enabled in ps (note: without hardware acceleration, moving the canvas around is comically slow).
Please note that my Surface pen is working normally other than in this specific instance. All other drawing or writing applications work as usual. I therefore suspect this is a Photoshop specific problem, but I’m posting here just in case anyone else has seen the problem and/or knows of any obscure Windows Setting that could potentially affect this.
Ends up that DavideV hit a bug in the March 22 Cumulative Update to Win10 Fall Creators Update, version 1709. You’ll be forgiven if you’ve lost track of all the 1709 cumulative updates, but KB 4089848 is the third cumulative update for 1709 released in March. Microsoft hasn’t yet confirmed the bug, but it now looks as if the same bug also appears in this month’s (first) Win10 1709 cumulative update, KB 4093112.
On Wednesday, Microsoft MVP and community moderator Barb Bowman posted a detailed explanation of the bug, simply describing it thusly:
The pen drags the canvas around instead of drawing.
On Thursday, an intrepid Reddit poster called david-windowsink, who appears to be a Microsoft Ink engineer, posted a much more detailed explanation. I found his explanation (which you can read on Reddit) a bit hard to follow, so I’d like to submit this near-translation for your inspection:
In one of the beta test builds for the next version of Windows, Win10 version 1803, we brought back a Win10 1607 setting that controlled pen behavior in regular, everyday Windows applications. The change was so well received that we rolled it back into the third March cumulative update for Win10 1709, KB 4089848.
Unfortunately, the change in pen behavior has an adverse effect on some popular Windows apps, including Adobe Photoshop, Adobe Lightroom, and Clip Studio Paint. The change results in unexpected panning and scrolling. We’re working on a fix and hope to release it soon.
In the interim, you can either upgrade to Win10 version 1803 (currently still in beta), or you can change the LegacyPenInteractionModel Registry setting.
If I misinterpreted any of david-windowsink’s comments, please blast me with both barrels on AskWoody.
Barb Bowman’s article has details and easy instructions for changing the Registry setting.
Pen owners are (rightfully, in my opinion) livid about the bug and the way it was introduced, without explanation, without warning, into the KB 4089848 patch on March 22. They’re no happier that the bug persists in this month’s Win10 1709 cumulative update. The Reddit thread flames in the usual NSFW manner.
There’s a less, uh, heated discussion started by TheCorrelation on the Microsoft Answers forum:
[I] rely on programs like Matlab, Word, Excel and Oaysis. All these programs behave differently to the pen now and my productivity has been seriously hindered. Please Microsoft, I always love having the latest updates, but this feature has seriously hindered my ability to get the things I need to do done. …
I just want you to know, from the absolute bottom of my heart, that your new pen implementation has utterly screwed my productivity, and destroyed my ability to use FL studio, AutoCAD, Oaysis GSA/Engineering tools, and the list goes on.
Your implementation allows for a pen to scroll, just like my finger has been doing for the last decade, to save me a few seconds of lifting my pen off the screen. Instead, it has caused me (and many others), hours of frustration.
But the worst part of all of this, is the way your team has handled this. Just own up to it. I don’t want you to tell me these changes have come due to ‘overwhelming feedback’. At the end of the day, your team messed up. The fact that even Edge and Word behave differently when barrel-clicking on text shows me that even you can’t get this to work consistently in your own apps.
Just to be clear: I think it’s great that Microsoft engineers are communicating, candidly, on Reddit and other fora. I just wish they had a better story to share.
Your pen is mightier than your sword. Join us on the AskWoody Lounge.
Law enforcement interest in iPhone encryption-cracking hardware from two new companies is a strong indication that Apple no longer claims the mobile security high ground.
“What this means, if it’s true, is that people who thought all of their communications were totally secure shouldn’t feel so confident going forward,” said Jack Gold, principal analyst with J. Gold Associates. “But, then security has always been a tug of war between the ones implementing it and the ones trying to break it.”
In February, reports surfaced that an Israel-based technology vendor, Cellebrite, had discovered a way to unlock encrypted iPhones running iOS 11 and were marketing the product to law enforcement and private forensics firms around the world. According to a police warrant obtained by Forbes, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security had been testing the technology.
Shortly thereafter, Grayshift emerged as a different company that had developed an inexpensive black box that could unlock any iPhone; this week Motherboard reported that local and regional U.S. police departments and the federal government have been purchasing the technology.
Grayshift reportedly hired a former Apple security engineer.
Motherboard confirmed the use of Grayshift’s GrayKey de-encrypting device – a 4-in. x 4-in. box with two iPhone-compatible lightening cables – by reviewing police department interest via public records requests and emails obtained from federal agencies that revealed purchases of the device. The GrayKey box can apparently unlock an iPhone in about two hours if the owner used a four-digit passcode and three days or longer if a six-digit passcode was used.
Nate Cardozo, a senior staff attorney with the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), a non-profit digital rights group, said he believes the reports that the iPhone’s encryption has been cracked. Otherwise, if it were not true, law enforcement agencies wouldn’t be purchasing the hacking technology.
“The FBI huffed and puffed and said couldn’t get into the iPhone, and then we found out that’s not true…the literal night before the court hearing [to decide the case],” Cardozo said.
He was referring to the investigation of San Bernardino gunman Syed Rizwan Farook. Until last month, FBI Director Christopher Wray had maintained his agency was unable to crack the passcode on an iPhone used by Farook.
The Justice Department had petitioned the courts to force Apple to comply with an order to unlock the device; a judge granted the request, but delayed making a final decision until hearing arguments from both sides. The evening before a court hearing to decide the matter, the agency announced it had gotten help from an outside group. That now appears not to be true.
The FBI’s attempts to get Apple to help with unencrypting the iPhone were rebuffed. Apple maintained that to break into one iPhone would weaken security for all others.
The news that two iPhone unencrypting methods are now widely available to government agencies did not surprise analysts, who said it was inevitable.
“There is no such thing as unbreakable encryption,” Gold said. “The idea is to make it as hard as possible by adding layers of encryption or long keys to encode, decode. But a determined decoder can crack it, given enough tools and enough time.”
The GrayKey box retails for $15,000. That model is geofenced to a specific location, requiring an internet connection that enables up to 300 unlocks. There is also a $30,000 GrayKey model that can be used independent of internet connectivity and offers an unlimited number of device unlocks, according to Motherboard.
Conversely, Cellebrite charges $5,000 to unlock a single iPhone, according to Malwarebytes.
EFF’s Cardozo said consumers shouldn’t be overly concerned that iPhone breaking technology has become real because law enforcement agencies must still obtain a court-issued warrant to unlock a device.
But those concerned about privacy rights should realize that once cracking technology is available, it’s reasonable to believe law enforcement agencies won’t be the only ones to gain access to it.
“If you believe the only people will access to GreyKey or Celebrate are the cops, I’ve got a bridge to sell you,” Cardozo said.
Google has rolled out updates to Sheets, including the ability to record macros – part of the company’s plan to appeal to more business users with it G Suite cloud product portfolio.
Macro recording provides a way to automate repetitive tasks within the G Suite spreadsheet tool, potentially saving users hours of duplicated effort.
It is also possible to write custom Apps Script functions and import them as new macros, Google said.
“We want to help companies automate work by approaching macros differently: cloud-first,” said G Suite product manager Ryan Weber in a blog post Wednesday. As Sheets Macros are built for cloud-based files, users can run the macros while others are working in a sheet without interruption.
“For example, a finance team having a budget meeting can run macros while reviewing the same spreadsheet,” Weber said.
The Sheets update comes as Google aims to attract more business users to its productivity suite with new features and products, such as the recently launched Google Hangouts Chat. G Suite now has more than three million paying customers, though Google lags far behind its main rival, Microsoft’s Office 365, which boasts over 120 million monthly active users.
Wayne Kurztman, research director at IDC, said that recent updates to G Suite have positioned Google as a “serious contender in the office suite and collaboration markets.” While Microsoft still “owns the market,” IDC sees Google effectively chipping at market share, “bit by bit,” he said.
“Google’s focus on user experience and functionality improvements, such as the Sheets update, play well to both regular and power users,” Kurtzman said. “This should be a concern for Office 365, [which] has focused on the regular users first.”
Other features added to Sheets this week include the ability to add printing page breaks, custom paper sizes, and more options for row and column grouping. It is also possible to add check-boxes in cells, and to group data by time frames – such as week, month or year – in pivot tables.
The new features build on Google’s recent enhancements to Sheets, particularly involving pivot tables.
In December, Sheets gained new A..I and machine learning capabilities, simplifying the management of large datasets. For example, users can ask Sheets questions using natural language and receive suggestions for which type of pivot table to use. That, according to Google, should make the tool simpler to use for non-technical business users.
In related news, details emerged about Google’s planned redesign of its Gmail web interface. According to several reports Thursday, an email sent to G Suite administrators detailed a range of new features that will become available as part of an early adopter program, including the addition of the Smart Reply function (already present in the mobile version of the application); the ability to ‘snooze’ emails for hours or days; and access to other G Suite apps such as Calendar from within Gmail.
Apple is updating its products and services to bring the company in line with the EU’s forthcoming privacy protection rules, General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR). Among other improvements, customers will be able to download all the information Apple keeps about them.
What is GDPR?
The GDPR rules are designed to bring existing data protection laws into the 21st century. They give individuals the right to see what information companies hold about them, oblige business to handle data more responsibly, and put a new set of fines and regulations in place. Almost any entity that handles personal data will be impacted by the GDPR rules.
These changes may be taking place in Europe, but there is expectation most big tech firms will apply similar protections outside Europe, which will give more effective protection to most people — which is a good thing.
Why it matters
Europe’s tough stance on personal privacy had already prompted many in the tech industry to get their act together. The Facebook/Cambridge Analytica scandal means many more of us now understand why such protection matters, particularly at a point in human history at which so much of what happens next will be defined by artificial intelligence (AI) and data analytics. This information is powerful.
“We’ve never believed that these detailed profiles of people, that have incredibly deep personal information that is patched together from several sources, should exist,” Apple CEO TimCook recently said. They can be “abused against our democracy,” he observed.
What Apple has done so far
Apple recently introduced updated privacy protections across all its products, which now offer a new Data & Privacy screen during setup. This explains how Apple and apps use your data and promises that the company’s solutions are designed to minimize the collection and use of your data. It also describes how on-device processing is used whenever possible.
“When we use data to create better experiences for you, we work hard to do it in a way that doesn’t compromise your privacy. One example is our pioneering use of Differential Privacy, where we scramble your data and combine it with the data of millions of others. So we see general patterns, rather than specifics that could be traced back to you. These patterns help us identify things like the most popular emoji, the best QuickType suggestions, and energy consumption rates in Safari.”
Effectively this means Apple’s products are private by design, which should open up interesting opportunities for the company in future.
GDPR means Apple will tell you what it knows
These aren’t the only privacy enhancements we can look forward from Apple as it prepares for GDPR rules to become mandatory in May.
The company has said it plans to update its Apple ID management page with a way to let users download a copy of all the data they have stored with the company.
The company will allow users to download data across individual apps, which means data concerning your music playback choices or which news stories you’ve been reading will be as easy to download as information about the contents of your Contacts or Calendar apps.
That’s the equivalent of the data Facebook allows its users to download about themselves, though Apple’s pre-existing commitment to privacy means we don’t expect too many unpleasant surprises — however, I will be paying particular attention to Location data logs when I check my records.
GDPR also means Apple will give you more control
Apple also intends to make it much easier for its customers to control their data. That means we’ll be able to:
- Get a copy of our data
- Correct our data
- Temporarily deactivate our accounts
- Delete our entire Apple ID
That’s a significant improvement. You have been able to do some of these things by contacting the company, but this takes time. These new tools will empower customers to vet and manage their own information.
Apple provides new GDPR developer tools
Apple closed out March by providing developers with an extensive set of tools to help them handle data requests made by EU users under new GDPR rules. These will enable developers to let users “manage data that’s associated with your app and stored in iCloud by using native APIs and Web APIs,” the company said. These will also include tools to enable a developer’s own users to delete their data from a developer’s app. More here.
What are the rollout plans?
Apple has already begun introducing these improvements. The most recent software updates introduced new Privacy rules and systems and a new Privacy icon that appears when an app requests your personal data. The company says the additional enhancements discussed here are scheduled for introduction in Europe when GDPR rules come into effect on May 25. The iPhone maker says it will make these features available to customers outside Europe at a later point.
Privacy is a human right
Cook has gone on record to call privacy a “human right.” He’s highly critical of companies whose business plan is to monetize customers, saying:
“The truth is, we could make a ton of money if we monetized our customer. … We’ve elected not to do that. We’re not going to traffic in your personal life. Privacy to us is a human right, a civil liberty.”
Apple as a company has an extensive privacy governance structure, which is described here.
Its employees are required to take privacy training, and the company has a Privacy Board made up of a cross-functional group of senior representatives from across the company that handles privacy-related issues.
Apple details its privacy policies, tools, and reports in the Privacy section of its website.
Google+? If you use social media and happen to be a Google+ user, why not join AppleHolic’s Kool Aid Corner community and get involved with the conversation as we pursue the spirit of the New Model Apple?
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In one of the most bizarre patching contortions I’ve seen in a long time, Microsoft originally released this month’s Win7/Server 2008R2 Monthly Rollup patch, KB 4093118, with a little bit of southern lagniappe.
As I mentioned earlier this week, if you wanted to install this month’s Monthly Rollup and didn’t want to clobber your Network Interface Card (NIC) or any of your manually set IP addresses, you had to manually install the security-only patch KB 4093108 ahead of time.
Patching by prescience, as it were. There’s a Great Carnak joke in there somewhere.
Late last night, Microsoft released a new version of its wayward Monthly Rollup. This new version, we’re assured (per the updated KB article), addresses the following:
- Aan issue where a new Ethernet NIC that has default settings may replace the previously existing NIC, causing network issues
- An issue where static IP address settings can be lost
Thus they eliminated the need to recognize that there are problems with the Monthly Rollup and you need to fix them in advance. Sis boom bah.
Files in the patch unchanged
Per MrBrian, it appears as if the files inside the patch haven’t changed.
Of course, Microsoft’s updated KB article (which doesn’t even mention the re-release, except in the context of WSUS) has no definitive instructions for installing or re-installing the fix.
As @ch100 notes on AskWoody:
I would say that those who installed the updates previously successfully will not have the new one offered, as there is no real change, but different internal logic of installing the bundled components…
It is a new update in WSUS, while the old version is expired. Not a simple (metadata) revision this time. This does not mean that those who installed the original patch have to do anything special other than upgrading in place, at least in theory.
Earlier this week I said:
We’re seeing reports of Win7 patches that are checked, unchecked, sometimes disappearing, occasionally reappearing, and vanishing into thin air.
That’s changed. It seems that Microsoft has steadied its resolve and is now offering this update to all Win7 and Server 2008 R2 machines.
Of course, I continue to recommend that you hold off on all of this month’s patches.
Have a better guess? Join us on the AskWoody Lounge.